Who We Are: A long road home
It took Cyndi Sammon 11 years to make it to Summit County from Cleveland.Okay, it wasn’t literally an 11-year trip, but in a sense, it kind of was. Throughout those 11 years she visited Breckenridge whenever she could, picking up more and more still-have-to-this-day sort of friends along the way. It was just that final, permanent move that took a little time, and encouragement, to commit to. Sammon is originally from Cleveland. She moved to Rhode Island for a little while after graduating high school, and then New Jersey, where she would commute to Manhattan for work. “I was young, and the city’s big,” she said. Sammon talks with some wonderment in her eyes about the fast pace of “The Big Apple,” the friends she made there, and the big-name personalities she met during her tenure. But life came calling – Sammon had a son, and decided to move back to Cleveland to raise him near family. Sammon settled into life in Ohio, and a few years later, received a letter from a good friend she knew from Rhode Island. The friend had made a big move to Breckenridge – “she was lonely,” Sammon said, so she booked a ticket to visit her for New Year’s Eve 1989. “I was in awe because it was snowing from Stapleton Airport up here,” Sammon said. It was so white out she couldn’t see the mountains that night – the first view Sammon got was New Year’s morning 1990, when she stepped out onto her friend’s porch. “I wanted to move since the day I saw the deck of the Val D’Isere,” she said. And that was it. Sammon came out that summer for a couple of weeks, and then again in the fall. She would visit every chance she got over the years, and along the way, picked up lifelong friends. She came out so often, in fact, that some of her acquaintances thought she lived in Denver. But Sammon, who had a second son by this point, stayed in Cleveland. “I just felt it was better the boys were closer to family,” she said. It was the nudging of her eldest, Tim, that finally changed her mind. Sammon came out for a visit in fall 2001, sent out a few resumes, and on the last day, and at the last minute, found a job. And that was that. As a parent, you always question whether you’re doing the right thing, but “I think for myself and the boys, it was the best decision,” Sammon said. Tim, who transferred to Summit High School and now works as an electrician, loves the county. And Luke, Sammon’s second son, is spending the “summer” in Australia with family, but will be back soon to attend Colorado Mountain College. Besides her job, Sammon also found another part of her life on that last visit in 2001: Her common-law husband, Charles Perks. Her car broke down right before she was supposed to leave that fall, and Perks offered her a place to stay. “I’ve never left,” Sammon joked.
Sammon acknowledges that she’s always up for a challenge, and she likes changes. In her nearly 11 years in Summit County, she’s owned her own business, worked for Vail Resorts, and ran a T-shirt shop, Pure Mountain Outlet in Silverthorne and Natural Grocers in Dillon. But her current job, “by far,” is her favorite. Sammon is the manager of the new Family and Intercultural Resource Center-owned Summit Thrift and Treasure store in Breckenridge, which opened up last month on Airport Road. She’s able to give back to the community through her new role, and her staff is amazing. It took a lot to transform that empty space into an orderly retail shop, especially in the few days before opening, and they were smiling the whole time, she said. It seems Sammon may have found her place in life – in her family, her career and her location. She likes the diversity of happenings in Breckenridge – “it’s always something new, it’s always something different,” she said – and feels lucky to hold such a fulfilling job. And her boys. She talks about them with a tear in her eye. “Tim changed my life, and Luke just enhanced it,” she said. “My boys changed my life, they’re my favorite part of my life.” Tim turned 26 on Thursday, and invited his mom to the celebration. Sammon’s lucky in that at 26, her son wants to be her friend, and made plenty of time for her at his party. On Tim’s birthday, Sammon reflected on her thoughts as she sat in that hospital, 26-years ago to the day. “I never looked back after that,” she said. “I’m lucky. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
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